story openings

What Are Your Favorite Writing-Related Books?

February 19, 2015 Writing Stuff
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I’ve added a page to my site to list my favorite writing craft and reference books. I’ve added several books that I thought of off the top of my head, but I know I’m forgetting a bunch too. So let me share the books I thought of, and let’s see what others have to add to the suggestions.

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Should Our Protagonist Be in the First Scene?

February 17, 2015 Writing Stuff
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Most stories open with the protagonist on page one, but every once in a while, our story seems to work best if we start with another character. If we understand why the protagonist usually works best as the point-of-view character for the first page, we might be able to remake those exceptions into stronger openings.

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Cause and Effect: Understanding Story Flow

October 9, 2014 Writing Stuff
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In the real world, the cause of something happens before the effect. But in writing, we can put words into any order we want, which might leave the reader confused. If they have to reverse events in their head, they’re probably no longer immersed in our story. Not good.

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First Pages: Tips to Avoid Cliches and Weak Writing

September 18, 2014 Writing Stuff
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Many stories “strike out” with readers in the first chapter. So our opening pages are just as critical to sales as our book cover, title, back-cover blurb, etc. Let’s take a closer look at cliches to avoid and tips to make those pages work for us.

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NaNo Prep: 4 Tips for Starting Our Story

October 31, 2013 Writing Stuff
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Tomorrow, thousands of writers will start their novel for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I’m not in a good spot in my writing project schedule to participate this year (*pout*), but I’m cheering from the sidelines. (I’m Jami Gold if anyone wants to buddy me.) On this occasion, I wanted to bring together several tips […]

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How to Find the Start of Our Story

September 3, 2013 Writing Stuff
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A lot goes into deciding how to begin our story. We have to introduce the characters, the story, and the setting. We have to make it interesting, not confusing, or not accidentally misleading. Etc., etc., etc. If we think about it too much, we might seize up and not write anything. The sight of that […]

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Book Series: Should We Include a Teaser Excerpt?

August 1, 2013 Writing Stuff
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Yesterday, Kristen Lamb ran an encore of one of my posts from last year on her blog. We both liked that post because it discusses the importance of leaving the reader room to use their imagination. In the post, I made an aside about the danger of including a teaser excerpt for the next book in […]

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A Prologue Will Help Our Story When…

July 25, 2013 Writing Stuff
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Last time we touched on beat sheets because of a guest post I wrote for one of my Blogiversary winners. Today we’re going to talk about a subject that came up with one of my other Blogiversary winners: prologues. Prologues are hated by many editors and agents. Surprisingly, I’ve heard from readers who say they […]

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What Soap Operas Can Teach Us about Writing

April 23, 2013 Writing Stuff
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I don’t watch soap operas, but a bizarre conversation tangent (in other words, a perfectly normal conversation for me) triggered my thoughts comparing soap operas to novels. On the surface, they seem very similar. They both have characters, tension, and conflict. However, the more I thought about it, the more I saw differences. And those […]

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Immersion Master Class with Margie Lawson: Part One — Guest: Melinda Collins

September 4, 2012 Writing Stuff
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Whoo boy, do I have a treat for you today. The lovely Melinda Collins recently returned from an Immersion Master Class with Margie Lawson, and she’s here today to share her experience. I’m playing this cool now, but it was a different story earlier. When I heard Melinda was going to a weekend-long writer’s retreat, […]

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